Author Topic: Parenting in public - was there a misstep here?  (Read 7622 times)

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Mental Magpie

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Re: Parenting in public - was there a misstep here?
« Reply #30 on: January 15, 2013, 10:48:49 AM »
I would file this is the "Annoying, but not rude" category. I don't think it's reasonable to expect to go through life never being annoyed by other people. Sure, we should try to mitigate our impact on those around us, but it's not always possible.

It sounds like this little girl was exhausted and I don't see what the mother could have done to make it better. It's very probable that not getting on the bus was not an option, and nagging an exhausted kid is useless, so what was the mother supposed to do?

At the very least, apologize.
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Hmmmmm

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Re: Parenting in public - was there a misstep here?
« Reply #31 on: January 15, 2013, 10:52:51 AM »
As long as I can tell the parent is trying, I don't get nearly annoyed as I would if the parent was ignoring the child and letting me have to deal with the consequences.  It may not be what will work in the long run, but don't let strangers suffer because your (general) child is having a tantrum.

Oh, good. I thought I was going to be the only one in this camp. I think it's fine to use whatever parenting technique works best for you when your child isn't making life unpleasant for others. When the kid's behavior has a negative impact on other people, however, it seems like the best strategy is to remove yourself (and the kid) from the area or at least make every effort to get the kid to be quiet.

I - along with a store full of other people - was recently treated to a jet-engine-decibel-level screaming fit courtesy of a small child whose mother dawdled along the aisles at a leisurely pace, making no effort to leave the store, get out of the place in a hurry, or quiet the child. It went on for the entire 15 minutes I was in the store and people were quite obviously supremely annoyed. Some loud, non-ehell-approved comments were made... The mother may have great success with ignoring tantrums, but the rest of us sure couldn't ignore it.

I think this example is very different.  In your example the mom has a very valid option of leaving the store.  I think everyone agrees a parent should remove rhe child when possible. In the OP, the moms option to remove the child from public would mean she waited somewhere other than the bus stop and then didnt take the bus.

Why should the public suffer from that?  The mom could have moved down the street where no one else was standing/waiting and watched for the bus arriving.  She could have also at least attempted to quiet her child to let the public know she was trying.  That makes a big difference.

We don't really know what the mom had tried before the OP arrived at the bus stop.  What she witnessed could have been the very end of a major meltdown that the mom had reduced and felt further acknowlegement would create a spark again. 

I truly tried and in most cases succeeded in keeping my kids from creating an uncomfortable environment to others.  But I was not ever going to base my parenting decisions on how a random stranger was going to judge me.

It's not about judgement, it's about respecting the space of those around you.  It's no different than talking during a movie because there is no respect for the people around you (all yous general).

You're right, we don't know what the mother tried, but she, out of respect for a stranger, should have at least tried something else to keep her daughter quiet to show that she was aware her daughter was being rude and was actively trying to stop it.

I in no way see a public bus stop anywhere near the level of a movie theater or other in door space.  I so often have to hear the music blaring from peoples head phones, listening to  their cell phone conversations, or having conversations amongst themselves that I find inapporpriate that a young child whining to her mom wouldn't even put a blip to me. 

So here is a scenario
DD got up cranky, isn't happy about having to go out so early, and in a general bad mood. Mom and DD arrive at bus stop. 
DD whining:  Mom, I want to go home.
Mom: We have to go to X.
DD:  I don't want to, I'm tired.
Mom: Well, sit down here while we wait.
DD in louder whine:  I don't want to sit down there, it's icky.
Mom:  It's not icky, it's fine.  Just sit down.
DD getting into full blown mode:  No, it's dirty and its rough. I'm not sitting there and I won't.
Mom:  Fine just stand.  (And puts her bags on the bench on both sides.)
DD goes into full pout, OP arrives and indicates she'd like to sit down. Mom moves one set of bags.
DD:  But mom, where am I going to sit?
OP:  Oh, is this your seat?
DD&Mom:  No.
DD:  But mom, I don't have any place to sit, I want to sit down, mom, let's go, I don't want to be here, come on mom, there's no place for me to sit, I want to go home. MOMMMMMMM!
Mom sighs, gives DD that look and refusses to re-engage. 

If she does, it won't accomplish what the OP wants, which is silence instead in my experience it would be just the opposite, an escalation of noise and whining.  So why should the mom re-engage and re-enforce for the DD that she can manipulate mom into an argument or give in if they are in public?  Just because some random stranger sitting next to her with head phones on is going to think she is rude? 

bah12

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Re: Parenting in public - was there a misstep here?
« Reply #32 on: January 15, 2013, 10:54:03 AM »
 I didn't see what the Mother did as so out of line.  This sounds exactly like the behavior my 3 year old has when she's missed a nap or is trying to garner some control where she otherwise has none.  I can totally see the pre-tantrum scenario as the mom asking the kid if she wanted to sit down and the child refusing.  Then as soon as the sitting down option was taken away from her, she suddenly wants to sit and whines and complains the whole time.  I wouldn't have given into that either. 

Trying to differentiate parenting techniques between public and private is difficult.  Hands down, I believe the best way to handle a tantrum is to ignore it.  If the situation permits, removing the child from a public area and letting her throw her tantrum somewhere else is great, but that doesn't always work out.  I don't know where the mom in the OP was supposed to take her child.  The bus was obviously very close to arriving as it showed up minutes after the OP arrived, so where was she to go.  Where else do you wait for bus except at a bus stop?  Even if she had moved "down the street", my guess is that by the time she got the kid to actually follow her, the bus would have arrived....not really relieving the OP of anything.

As for the mom not making her child sit with her on the bus, I don't see that as an etiquette issue.  I would have had my child sit with me, but it's a parenting choice.  It only becomes an etiquette issue when someone else needs to take the second seat the child is using by lying down.  Also, the kid was quiet on the bus.  Had she been forced to sit by her mother, it's possible the tantrum would have continued, disturbing everyone.  So, in essence, it's possible the mom did exactly what the OP thinks she should have done at the bus stop....Give in for the sake of everyone elese's eardrums.

The only things I think should have worked differently in this scenario was that the Mom could have apologized to the OP for the kid's behavior and the OP should have asked for the seat nicely, vs. just standing over it expecting the mom to just move her stuff automatically.

Surianne

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Re: Parenting in public - was there a misstep here?
« Reply #33 on: January 15, 2013, 11:04:55 AM »
I don't see any rudeness on the part of the mother here.  The whinging was probably a little annoying to listen to, but as Hmmmmm notes, some sort of noise at a bus stop is pretty standard, whether it's loud conversations, cars honking, construction nearby, etc., so I don't think the mom would have seen it as similar to a public place where quiet is expected (e.g. the movies, the library). 

I also don't think the mom was rude to have her bags on the bench, since she did move them when she realized the OP wanted to sit.  The OP probably could have saved herself aggravation by simply asking politely for the seat.

Knitterly

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Re: Parenting in public - was there a misstep here?
« Reply #34 on: January 15, 2013, 11:11:16 AM »
I agree that the only thing I disagree with is when the mom was on the bus ahead of the child and risked the child refusing to get on and risked the possibility of the bus taking off and leaving her behind (although the mom could have gotten off at the next stop and walked back - usually busstops are fairly close together).

Parenting is a difficult thing, as I am learning, and it is always easier to judge from the outside looking in.  It appears as though the mother took the path that resulted in the quietest disruption.  And though the child was rude by taking up two seats and falling asleep, very few decent people would be annoyed at having to stand so that a child can sleep.  I give both her and the mother a pass on that one.

I am a little disturbed at the line my way of silently saying "another person trumps your bag" in the original post.  I don't think there is any need to say that, silently or otherwise.  After all, there was no one else at the stop when she got there.  If there is no one else at a stop and I have the option of putting my bags on the ground or on the seat, I will put them on the seat to try keep them as clean as possible for as long as possible.  The fact that the woman moved them as soon as you silently indicated your desire to sit further absolves her from rudeness in my view.

I also agree that the best way to deal with a tantrum is to ignore it.  Heck, that even works on my toddler.  When she starts to scream, I simply turn my back on her and busy myself with something else.  She stops so fast it makes my head spin sometimes.  I was even advised to do this by my mother in law, who comes from an age where very different parenting techniques were used.  In public, I remove us from the situation if I can.  If I can't, I try to apologize to those around me for the noise.  In the case of an 8 year old, I don't know what I would do.  If you have to go somewhere (and for all you know, they may have been going home), you have to go, and sometimes public transit is your only option. 

I don't think the mother was rude.  I think she was doing the best she could with the resources she had available.

I do find that judging other people's parenting in the absence of any seriously egregious issues to be the bigger etiquette faux pas.

Mental Magpie

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Re: Parenting in public - was there a misstep here?
« Reply #35 on: January 15, 2013, 11:13:07 AM »
What I meant about the movie theater was simply by respecting the space of those around you.  No, I didn't expect the child to be completely quiet at the bus stop, but I do think that someone is being rude if everyone else around them can hear their music through their headphones.  That is not respecting the people around you.

Allowing your child to tantrum and disturb those around you without making any effort whatsoever to stop it or to apologize for it is rude.  Even if the mom didn't want to re-engage, she could have at least said she was sorry to the OP for disturbing her.



Again, I'm not judging the parenting, I am judging the lack of respect for those around her.
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bah12

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Re: Parenting in public - was there a misstep here?
« Reply #36 on: January 15, 2013, 11:18:14 AM »
What I meant about the movie theater was simply by respecting the space of those around you.  No, I didn't expect the child to be completely quiet at the bus stop, but I do think that someone is being rude if everyone else around them can hear their music through their headphones.  That is not respecting the people around you.

Allowing your child to tantrum and disturb those around you without making any effort whatsoever to stop it or to apologize for it is rude.  Even if the mom didn't want to re-engage, she could have at least said she was sorry to the OP for disturbing her.



Again, I'm not judging the parenting, I am judging the lack of respect for those around her.

I agree she could have apologized, but not that she was being disrespectful to those around her.  Ignoring a tantrum, is doing something about it.  In my experience, it's the quickest and most effective method to get a tantrum to stop.  Engaging the child, talking to the child, yelling at the child, etc, just prolongs the duration and frequency of tantrums (not to mention the decibels of the one that you are trying to end).

CaptainObvious

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Re: Parenting in public - was there a misstep here?
« Reply #37 on: January 15, 2013, 11:21:04 AM »
I don't see any rudeness on the part of the mother here.  The whinging was probably a little annoying to listen to, but as Hmmmmm notes, some sort of noise at a bus stop is pretty standard, whether it's loud conversations, cars honking, construction nearby, etc., so I don't think the mom would have seen it as similar to a public place where quiet is expected (e.g. the movies, the library). 

I also don't think the mom was rude to have her bags on the bench, since she did move them when she realized the OP wanted to sit.  The OP probably could have saved herself aggravation by simply asking politely for the seat.

I agree, I think that this is a situation that you just shrug off and move on. To me it would have been a minor issue and nothing worth speaking up about. And as far as the kid laying on the seat, it wasn't causing any issues for the other passengers and kept the kid quiet.

CuriousParty

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Re: Parenting in public - was there a misstep here?
« Reply #38 on: January 15, 2013, 12:38:30 PM »
What I meant about the movie theater was simply by respecting the space of those around you.  No, I didn't expect the child to be completely quiet at the bus stop, but I do think that someone is being rude if everyone else around them can hear their music through their headphones.  That is not respecting the people around you.

Allowing your child to tantrum and disturb those around you without making any effort whatsoever to stop it or to apologize for it is rude.  Even if the mom didn't want to re-engage, she could have at least said she was sorry to the OP for disturbing her.



Again, I'm not judging the parenting, I am judging the lack of respect for those around her.

The OP said she was wearing her own headphones, listening to her music, and studiously attempting to ignore the parent/child interaction.  Although I do apologize when necessary if I make eye contact/engage with a stranger, I would not interfere in their own activities to do so.  The message I would have gotten from the OP would have been "don't engage me in this" and I think it would have been less respectful to ignore that message.

Knitterly

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Re: Parenting in public - was there a misstep here?
« Reply #39 on: January 15, 2013, 12:41:40 PM »
What I meant about the movie theater was simply by respecting the space of those around you.  No, I didn't expect the child to be completely quiet at the bus stop, but I do think that someone is being rude if everyone else around them can hear their music through their headphones.  That is not respecting the people around you.

Allowing your child to tantrum and disturb those around you without making any effort whatsoever to stop it or to apologize for it is rude.  Even if the mom didn't want to re-engage, she could have at least said she was sorry to the OP for disturbing her.



Again, I'm not judging the parenting, I am judging the lack of respect for those around her.

The OP said she was wearing her own headphones, listening to her music, and studiously attempting to ignore the parent/child interaction.  Although I do apologize when necessary if I make eye contact/engage with a stranger, I would not interfere in their own activities to do so.  The message I would have gotten from the OP would have been "don't engage me in this" and I think it would have been less respectful to ignore that message.

I agree with this.

While I might apologize to someone at a bus stop for my child's bad behaviour, I would certainly not interrupt them to do so.  That would be rude in itself, imo.  I would also think it was really weird if someone interrupted me to do the same.

Mental Magpie

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Re: Parenting in public - was there a misstep here?
« Reply #40 on: January 15, 2013, 01:01:06 PM »
What I meant about the movie theater was simply by respecting the space of those around you.  No, I didn't expect the child to be completely quiet at the bus stop, but I do think that someone is being rude if everyone else around them can hear their music through their headphones.  That is not respecting the people around you.

Allowing your child to tantrum and disturb those around you without making any effort whatsoever to stop it or to apologize for it is rude.  Even if the mom didn't want to re-engage, she could have at least said she was sorry to the OP for disturbing her.



Again, I'm not judging the parenting, I am judging the lack of respect for those around her.

The OP said she was wearing her own headphones, listening to her music, and studiously attempting to ignore the parent/child interaction.  Although I do apologize when necessary if I make eye contact/engage with a stranger, I would not interfere in their own activities to do so.  The message I would have gotten from the OP would have been "don't engage me in this" and I think it would have been less respectful to ignore that message.

I agree with this.

While I might apologize to someone at a bus stop for my child's bad behaviour, I would certainly not interrupt them to do so.  That would be rude in itself, imo.  I would also think it was really weird if someone interrupted me to do the same.

I don't disagree.
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BeagleMommy

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Re: Parenting in public - was there a misstep here?
« Reply #41 on: January 15, 2013, 01:38:36 PM »
POD to those who've said there is not enough information about the mom/daughter to call them rude.  It could have been anything from the daughter having spent the morning doing boring errands with mom to a child who might have been coming down with a cold.  Any number of things could have made the child irritable.  Sometimes, the more attention paid to the tantrum, the worse it gets.

CaptainObvious

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Re: Parenting in public - was there a misstep here?
« Reply #42 on: January 15, 2013, 01:47:17 PM »
POD to those who've said there is not enough information about the mom/daughter to call them rude.  It could have been anything from the daughter having spent the morning doing boring errands with mom to a child who might have been coming down with a cold.  Any number of things could have made the child irritable.  Sometimes, the more attention paid to the tantrum, the worse it gets.

Not only that, but it really seems that it was a minor inconvenience to the OP. She was able to wear headphones to distract herself, the time span was relatively short and she was able to get a seat on the bus. There is no way I would have said anything to the Mother, I don't know what it would accomplish.

CakeEater

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Re: Parenting in public - was there a misstep here?
« Reply #43 on: January 15, 2013, 07:30:58 PM »
After a while I realised that me saying something was not stopping the tantrum at all and was giving fuel by giving attention. I was *only* saying it in order to show bystanders that I was trying to do something.

I have two little kids and I find that I do this often. Either way, the tantrums don't cease, but at least, all the onlookers seem appeased by my efforts.

As long as I can tell the parent is trying, I don't get nearly annoyed as I would if the parent was ignoring the child and letting me have to deal with the consequences.  It may not be what will work in the long run, but don't let strangers suffer because your (general) child is having a tantrum.

I agree. I'm sure letting a tantrum play out without reward is ultimately more productive for the parents, but it comes at the expense of making everyone else's life difficult. Well, no. I don't wish to have my day ruined because someone's child is having a tantrum and the parent refuses to do anything about it.

If that parenting method works best for you (you general) then great - but use it in your own home. It's far politer not to inflict it on the rest of the world.

It's ultimately more productive for the rest o the general public in the future as well. If the tantrum plays out, you the bystander suffer, and next time the child is out in public, they know the tantrum didn't work last time and the bystanders that day are treated to a well-behaved child.

All the well-behaved kids you come across may have done their tantruming in public previously, and you are benefitting from previous bystanders' sore ears.

I'm not intending to 'inflict' my parenting on the whle world, but how else do you get a child to behave in public than to parent them in public?

rashea

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Re: Parenting in public - was there a misstep here?
« Reply #44 on: January 16, 2013, 10:36:28 AM »
  And though the child was rude by taking up two seats and falling asleep, very few decent people would be annoyed at having to stand so that a child can sleep.  I give both her and the mother a pass on that one.


I have to disagree strongly with this. I consider myself a decent person, and I would be ticked if a Mom let her child take 2 seats when I was standing just so she could sleep. If we're talking a 2 year old in the middle of the night, fine, but a 10 year old at 9:30 in the morning? No, that's rude, and not acceptable.

In this situation, I think it was fine for the woman to not apologize, but only because the OP was wearing headphones. I think in general, if you are doing something you know causes annoyance to those around you, even if for a good reason, it's rude if you don't at least make an attempt to apologize. It's like if you bump into someone by accident. That's not rude, but it can be if you can't manage a simple "sorry".
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